Monday, January 31, 2011

Finding the Perfect Findings

When I'm out doing a show, oftentimes, customers pick up one of my art beads and says,

"This is pretty, what do you do with it?"

So I've taken that as a challenge to items to my website that will complement my handmade beads. Here are the new items I've added recently to help customers figure out what to do with the beads.

When you're designing with a natural feeling pendant like the Lotus Pod,


you pair it with other natural beads like these chunky red bamboo coral beads:


What to do with the Red Lotus Pods? Vintaj chain and jump rings complement the brown tone of the patina on the red lotus pod.


Do you have ideas about items I should add to my site? What do you think would look good with my handmade art beads?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Beadbloggers Weekly Round-up

It's the weekly round up of links! I always read each link and thought I'd highlight one of them this week. Check out this lovely stamped wood creation from Lisa at A Bead A Day....



A Bead A Day
Lisa continues to hammer happy thoughts into wood jewelry pieces over at A Bead A Day Blog!


Check out the other beadbloggers for the week....

About.com Jewelry Making
Sign up for this fun e-course themed around "love." Perfect for the up-coming Valentine's Day holiday.

Art Bead Scene
Believe it or not, sometimes an Art Bead Scene editor just can't come up with the right words.

Beading Arts
Cyndi put the finishing touches on her beaded postcards!

Beading & Books
Michelle reviews a "top 20" list of craft tools from Martha Stewart and compares it to what's in her own studio.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi creates a very soft and warm felted bead necklace.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy has chosen one single word to keep her creative juices flowing. What do you think it is?

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Bang, bang, bang! Melanie makes another Response Saturday post featuring the loud sound of texturing hammers on metal.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews Tammy Powley's amazing new book, The Complete Guide to Jewelry Making--what a thorough and terrific teaching guide and inspirational powerhouse for designers!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Can you feel it? Andrew is on the verge of many big projects with limitless possibilities ahead!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Wednesday Wire Becomes the Tuesday Tangle....

Wednesdays are overbooked lately. I can't resist Heather's new Bead Table Wednesday so where is that leaving my weekly Wire Jewelry post, the Wednesday Wire? It's such a catchy name, how can I give it up? Well, I'm not, it's going to become the Tuesday Tangle.

Get it?  As in tangled wire?

I've even made a little logo for it so you can remember to come back on Tuesdays.


So, for this week's Tuesday Tangle, I'm showing off some retro style wire earrings.



These are made with homemade fused transparent glass nuggets and non-tarnish silver wire. I wrapped the wire around the groove I made in them and then twisted the wire at the top. I love this silver wire, it has the look and feel of sterling.  The earrings have a nice swing to them, very groovy, baby.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Funny Friday on Sunday and Fabulous Links!

Funny Pictures - The Bobcats
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

A Bead A Day
Lisa's experimenting with alphabet stamps in wood. Please stop by to share your experiences with metal, wood or polymer clay stamping.

About.com Jewelry Making
What do you get when you combine yarn, crystals, and metal? A very cool double strand bracelet!

Beading Arts
Beaded objects don't always have to be wearable. How about some beaded postcards?

Beading & Books
If you make a mistake with a piece of jewelry, do you throw it out, start over, or try to fix it? Michelle shares a mistake she made trying to create a pendant using copper, ink, and a gloss sealant.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi creates a special set of felted brooches for a Canadian company.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy shares a surprise she received during the holidays.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Ceramic pendants with cut-out holes receive a sparkly window treatment in this project using resin from Lima Studios

Katie's Beading Blog
A simple idea for keeping the inspiration flowing.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Using lovely design elements from Artbeads, Jean creates an evocative pair of winter earrings which remind her of seasons long past...

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
This week one lucky winner will take home a beaded brooch by Cenya AND score some Soft Flex flexible beading wire!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

They grow up....

It's funny when you have a small child, everyday feels like a month or a year. You're so focused on the day to day caretaking, the days feel long and exhausting. You love it but some days you wonder if it will always be like this. Then one day, it's over. You stop to think, what happened? Yesterday,  you were six! Wait, I'm not ready! And all of a sudden, the house seems quiet, empty even. But it's exciting and thrilling for them and you are excited and thrilled for them.  Yet you're standing at the door wondering what you're going to do when you go back into the house.

It's like the day you brought them home from the hospital all over again. You don't know exactly how you're going to do this but you love them and you'll find your way.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Feeling Bookish....

I'm a book worm. In all the family pictures of picnics or days at the beach or a lazy Sunday afternoon, there I am with my nose in a book.

The first piece of furniture I owned as a young adult was a bookshelf.

Beadlovers, don't hate me but I'll even part with my beads before I'll part with my books.

So this necklace by Margaux Kent of The Black Spot Books had my name written all over it when I saw it on Etsy last Saturday.

Made from an old leather postcard (I didn't even know they made leather postcards!) it's tiny. Just perfect to wear around my neck and show the world just what kind of person I am.

A booklover.

What about you? Do you love books?

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Word for the Year....

Many of my fellow artists have picked a word or a phrase to inspire them or to focus on for the coming year. I've been introspective lately too thinking about where and what I really want to do. There are alot of changes going on in my house and it's time to re-think.

I need to keep things simple. So in the spirit of KISS, I have chosen one single word 2011. One I will bring myself back to when I start to get sidetracked.

Do.

Don't surf the web looking for inspiration (or a use it as a way to avoid actually doing something).

Do.

Make something.

Keep forging ahead in your new designs.

Make it rather than think it.

Do.

An outgrowth of the red lotus pods, I made this heart with the same set of wormhole like texture and shabby chic look. I embedded Vintaj colored 20 gauge wire for the loop. I love hearts and have collected them on and off for years. I have to say I'm at a loss though with what to title it. Any ideas?

Have you chosen a word for the year?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Slash

I'm going to slash prices on the clearance items that are left in the store sometime after 2pm EST today. I don't want any of the clearance items hanging around. So make sure you take a look, there will be some great deals!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Weekend Sale Eye Candy and Customer Service

Weekend sale today and tomorrow!

I'll be adding beads all weekend so check back to see what I've added.

Sale opens at 1pm EST today (Saturday) and closes at tomorrow (Sunday) at 6pm EST. So if you see something you like, best to grab it while you can. I take any leftover clearance beads off the site after the sale.

I'm cleaning out my stash along with my handmade beads. I'm really trying to hoard less and use more. So, if I haven't used the beads I bought within a year, it's time to let them go to a good home and that would be you!




If you have any questions about the sale, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

If you are charged sales tax and have already been approved tax exempt, please leave your tax exempt number in the comments section and I'll refund the sales tax to you.

Thank you to all my wonderful customers!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Funny Friday and Fabulous Links!

funny pictures - ...stealthy...like a silent shadow...like a passing cloud...like...
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Funny Pictures - Cat Gifs
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

About.com Jewelry Making
Finally, Tammy's latest jewelry book is out on bookstore shelves!

Art Bead Scene
ABS announces the January monthly challenge.

Beading Arts
Cyndi thinks that the new year is a good time to look into bead and jewelry education!

Beading & Books
Michelle shares a list of beading and jewelry-making challenges and contests with deadlines through the end of March.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi turns a clasp into a necklace pendant.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy offers up a free project based on a treasure from the Sisterhood.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Old keys, resin, and cold connection techniques combine to create Melanie's unique new pendants.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei tries her hand at an online class to make a Wire framed Bead- a meager attempt but fun at any rate!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean has reviewed a fascinating, beautiful book, 500 Enameled Objects. If you are curious about this form of beautiful jewelry and object crafting, check out her review!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Want to win a FREE class from Beaducation? Check out this week's installment of Thursday Giveaway for your chance to win!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Wire: Wire Wrapped Earrings

I've done the wire wrapping this week folks. In the mood for some Lynne Merchant style wire wrapping, I used round and barrel black onynx beads from Auntie's Beads to whip up these earrings.(*)


I learned that my favorite stepped pliers don't make nice wrapped loops like my regular round nose pliers do.

Why, you ask?

The stepped pliers have one round and one flat side. I need to grasp the wire with two round sides to make a nice wrapped loop.

Do you have a wire tip to share with me today?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Work: A Surprise on Christmas Morning...

I'm a tactile kinesthetic learner, a doer. I work with my hands everyday either in sign language interpreting or in art. I experiment with different media to find the right one to express the concept I have in mind. Glass beadmaking is done by hand but you don't actually touch the media (hot glass) when you're sculpting it. Sometimes, I just want to get my hands on the media and lately, it's been polymer clay.

Christmas morning, I was surprised by a creative burst that felt new but was really an evolution. I started this polymer journey with the faux carved wood hearts.

I kept along that path exploring the texture, poking dots into the clay to make it look like aged wood. Where would it go next? I was following the texture and then I made this...

...a folk style bird. I made several of the birds and really liked how together with the hearts, it was a logical series.

Then, on Christmas morning, it evolved yet again and in an unexpected direction. I got up and knew I had to make lotus pods...



...why lotus pods? I'm not sure. I love the lotus as a symbol and incorporate it into my personal jewelry. According to the website, Exotic India Art, the red lotus signifies:


I made the red lotus pods with a passion that morning, furiously handcrafting a dozen before anyone else woke up. A special gift that's particularly appropriate to today's auspicious date of 1/11/11!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mad for Monday - Giveaways

Today, I'm mad for giveaways. First up is a mini giveaway going on over at Love My Art Jewelry


Andrew Thornton hosts a weekly Thursday Giveaway and this week it's turquoise beads.


On Saturday, I'll be hosting an online clearance sale from 1-4pm EST, with giveaways each hour.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Friday Favorites and Fabulous Links

I'm in a playful mood as I write this so I thought I'd have some funny favorites this week. Check out this set of patterns for hats from the sixties that I plucked from Etsy....

...what's up with that one in the lower right corner? Or the conehead hat?

Or what about this one?


..."oh please don't look at me in this ugly hat!!"

Obviously, fashion comes and goes and some should just go. It makes for a good laugh looking back on them and saying what were they thinking?

If you want to know what the beadbloggers are thinking this week, check out their links....


A Bead A Day
Do you ever use Swarovski Prisms in your jewelry pieces? Stop by A Bead A Day to share your experiences!

About.com Jewelry Making
Get all your jewelry supplies and other crafting goodies organized with these great tips.

Art Bead Scene
The Art Bead Scene reviews the monthly challenge winners for 2010.

Beading Arts
Here's an idea for bead embroidery that bead weavers will absolutely love!

Beading & Books
Would you like to attract more readers for your blog or more customers for your online shop? Michelle shares 5 tips for getting started with SEO, search engine optimization.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi creates a focal piece from chandelier glass.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
It's time for Cindy's Annual Studio Sale or the Saga of the Neverending Beads!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
The start of the new year is also the beginning of a new series of blog posts about experimenting with materials for Melanie with her new series: Response Saturdays.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Tammy Powley has a new book out and Jean has the info on it! It looks like it will be a MUST for everyone's jewelry design library!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
This week's installment of Thursday Giveaway includes some luscious, turquoise-colored stone beads from Auntie's Beads! Find out how you can win them!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

And the winner of the Sisters of the Traveling Beads is....





Congratulations on becoming the 13th Sister, Paige!  Many thanks to all of you for commenting and blogging about the Sisters Giveaway.  The Sisterhood will be on her way to Maine so I better bundle her up for the trip!

Get Ready, Studio Sale Saturday, January 15th...The Neverending Battle of Too Many Beads!



Earlier in the week, I said I'd host my annual studio sale this Saturday. Since I am fighting the neverending battle of too many beads, I need extra time to photograph all of them. So, the Annual Studio Sale will be Saturday, January 15th from 1pm-4pm Eastern Standard Time.

I hosted a Studio Sale last year and this year's sale will be even bigger. I'll be selling off stash beads too. So this will be a good time to catch great deals not only on my handmade glass beads but also on Czech pressed glass, pearls, seed beads, etc.

If you visited last year, you know I was online the whole time answering questions. I'll be giving away free beads hourly here on the blog. I've also got some other giveaways planned so stay tuned as I'll be letting you in on the surprise next week before the sale. 

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Travels....another necklace from The Sisterhood

Here's another necklace I've made from the Sisterhood. It's made from a Jangles pendant, my double dips, a pink lampwork bead that I made and Vintaj brass. I'm calling this one, "Travels."





If you haven't entered to win the Sisterhood of the Traveling Beads, take a look at yesterday's post and enter to win!

Good luck, Sistas!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Beads....



If you're tracking the Sisterhood around the country, here's the path she's taken so far:

1. Heather Powers of Humble Beads- San Antonio, TX.
2. Mikki Ferrugiaro of MFD Beadwork Originals- UT.
3. Nancy Dale of NED Bead -Vermont.
4. Hannah Rosner of Good River Gallery- NM
5. Chris Neit of Good Quill Hunting-Maine
6. Sandy Spivey of Sandy’s Treasure- California
7. Katie Nelson of Katie’s Creations- TX
8. Kristie Roeder of Artisan Clay- PA
9. Lorelei Eurto of Lorelei Eurto Jewelry- New York State
10. Becky Caldwell of The Gritty Bird- North Carolina
11.Cindy Wimmer of Sweet Bead Studio - Virginia

I'm lucky number 12 to receive the Sisterhood of the Traveling Beads. She arrived on Christmas eve and is a large priorty mail box, doubled in size from her original weight. I've tried to help her slim down but even with the Little Sister giveaway, she's still wearing her same size box.

Here are the details....

The giveaway: The entire box of goodies, NOW WELL over $400 worth of beads.

The stipulations: Must have an online forum to host the next giveaway. Must be living within the United States to enter and be willing to pay for shipping: $15.00 for flat rate priority mail billed via Paypal.

The rules: You’ll take what you want from the box, add in items of equal value from your own bead stash to replace the items you took and then do the same giveaway on your blog. We’ll keep the beads traveling for as long as we can.

To enter: Leave a comment below, be sure to include your email. Those who entered for the Little Sister Grab Bag Giveaway are already entered.

Bonus Entry: If you want to up your chances, Blog,it to enter more than once. Leave another comment letting me know how you helped spread the word.

Deadline To Enter: Comments will be accepted until Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 6pm (eastern time).

Winner will be announced after 6pm on Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Can't wait to see who will be the next "Sister!"

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Sisterhood Necklace free project with help from Auntie's and Vintaj

The past week has been consumed with the holidays and the Sisterhood so much so that a new year has snuck up on me. Two years ago I vowed I would use up what glass rods I had in stock rather than buy more. I finally achieved that goal so this year, I want to destash my beads too. Sooo...

....first up will be a January Clearance sale this coming Saturday, January 8th online. I did this last year and cleaned out alot of my stash then. I need to do it again.

Destashing implies - do not add to your current stash! Taking that to heart I decided to make jewelry from the Sisterhood rather than just take a few things out to add to my stash.

When I went through the box, I fell in love with a very large (2 and 1/4 inches in diameter) an etched donut.  I love the feminine curly cues running across the highly finished and lightweight donut. I pulled it out immediately knowing that I don't normally wear such a large piece. I put it back several times but it kept calling out to me.

The Sisterhood is about sharing and contributing so I thought I'd share how I made today's necklace. I'm calling this necklace, The Sisterhood to remind me of the traveling box of beady goodness and all the sisters who have contributed and created with it.


This is an easy stringing project using basic wire wrap skills and stringing.

Tools:

Flush cutters

Chainnose pliers (2)

Stepped roundnose pliers (for making consistently sized loops)

Supplies:

56mm (approximately 2 and 1/4 inches) etched patterned donut from the Sisterhood stash

6, Auntie's Beads glass 14mm pearls in deep teal

15 inches of Vintaj 6.5mm by 9mm etched chain

1, 12mm Vintaj lobster clasp

1, 4.5 mm Vintaj jump rings

5, 10mm Vintaj jump rings

1, 15mm Vintaj jump ring

1 Vintaj filigree leaf

20 gauage Vintaj colored coated wire

Directions:

1. Assemble your components:

Pearl Components: Wire wrap the pearls making a loop on each end. You can make simple loops or wire wrapped loops if you'd like. If you aren't sure how to make the loops, go to Cindy Beads on YouTube, click on the Favorites button and watch the how to video.

Filigree Leaf: Attach 4.5 jump ring to filigree leaf. Attach 4.5 jump ring to 10mm jump ring.

Etched Donut Focal: Cut 6 inches (150mm) of Vintaj colored 20 gauge coated wire with your flush cutters. Make a loop using the stepped pliers, wrap twice around the large etched donut focal and finish by wrapping twice around the top of the donut.

Now you're ready to put your necklace components together.

2. Using chainnose pliers open the 15mm jump ring and string on the etched donut focal, filigree leaf and two of the 14mm deep teal glass pearl wire wrapped components, making sure the pearl components are on the "outside." You want to be sure the etched donut focal will be at the center of the necklace. Close the 15mm jump ring.

3. On one side, using the chainnose pliers, open a 10mm jump ring and attach it to one of the pearl components. String the jump ring and pearl component onto one of the pearl components attached to the 15mm jump ring. Close the 10mm jump ring.

4. Repeat the above until you have 3 teal pearls strung on both sides.

5. Instead of measuring the length of 6.5 by 9mm etched chain, I prefer to count the number of links. I think it's more accurate. Count out 28 links on the chain and open the 28th link using the chainnose pliers. You'll have 27 links (7 and 1/4 inches) for each side of the necklace.

6. Using the chainnose pliers, open the last link on one end. Attach to the last pearl. Do the same for the other side.

7. Attach the 12mm lobster clasp to the 4.5mm jump ring and attach it to the last link on one of the necklace.

I encourage you to make your own sisterhood piece of jewelry to celebrate the joy of beading with friends. While you're beading, I'm sharing a song from the movie, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants to get your creative juices flowing!

Bead Bravely, Sisters!





Disclosure of Material Connection with Auntie's Beads

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sunday Photo: Little Sister Grab Bags

Little Sister Grab Bag 1


Little Sister Grab Bag 2


Little Sister Grab Bag 3